Taxi drivers go wild, torch the streets of Hout Bay above b…

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Amaphela (sedan) taxi drivers brought Hout Bay and surrounding Cape Town communities to a standstill on Monday. The drivers have vowed to keep protesting until Cape Town pays compensation which they say was promised in 2009 when the Llandudno and Imizamo Yethu MyCiTi bus route was established.

More than 50 protesters blocked roads at Imizamo Yethu Circle, Main Road and Victoria Road with rocks and burning tires demanding a meeting with city officials.

According to protesters, taxi drivers from the Hout Bay Taxi Association in 2009 had signed an agreement with the city that they would be compensated as new bus services would operate on the route they were taking, which would impact on their number of customers.

The drivers said GroundUp that they had several meetings with the City but each time they were told that the payment would be made by 2014, but that never happened. They then contacted a lawyer in 2019 who is helping them take the battle against the city to court.

Protesters barricade the streets near the roundabout outside Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

Attorney Anneke Whelan said the city continued to move the goalposts on when the funds would be paid and that this frustrated members of the association as they were the only ones who had not yet been paid.

Whelan said, “The city oddly argues that the implementation of the MyCiti bus service has improved business for members of the Hout Bay Taxi Association.”

According to documents filed with the court, the members of the association are claiming damages from the City. Depending on the size of their sedan taxi, some charge R279,700 and others R283,000 plus interest and fees.

Drivers who spoke with GroundUp said anonymously that the city’s proposal to add a new road between Hout Bay and Wynberg further undermines their ability to generate revenue. “We’re not going to allow that,” one driver said.

Demonstration against taxi drivers in Hout Bay
The police dispersed the demonstrators using rubber bullets and stun grenades. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

When we arrived in Hout Bay protesters started throwing stones at the police. Police responded by using rubber bullets and stun grenades to drive the crowd away from Victoria Road.

Taxi drivers damage vehicles in Hout Bay
Protesters attempt to throw a vehicle into the street. They did not succeed. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

In a statement following the protest, the city said it had suspended MyCiTi and Dial-a-Ride services in Hout Bay. This has left hundreds of people who depend on the services stranded.

“We have confirmation that three MyCiTi buses were stoned to death in Imizamo Yethu, one of which was the victim of a petrol bombardment. Fortunately, we have not been notified of any injuries to passengers or bus drivers,” said Rob Quintas, Mayco Member for Urban Mobility.

In response to their claims for compensation, Quintas said: ‘The town has been engaged with the Hout Bay Taxi Association since 2014 and will continue to do so. This case is currently on the docket of the Western Cape High Court and the city is awaiting the court’s decision on the matter.

The police are still monitoring the area. A case of public violence has been opened. DM

Taxi drivers vandalize a bus stop
A bus stop near a roundabout near Imizamo Yethu was also vandalized and partially set on fire. (Photo: Ashraf Hendricks)

First published by GroundUp.

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